There are many decisions, situations or beliefs in life that I understand or sympathize with even though I take another road myself. I understand women who don’t want to have kids, those who want a big family, I understand why some people are attracted to right-wing values even though they aren’t my own and I can sympathize with those who choose to break the law in some instance.
Basically, my motto is “à chacun son truc,” “to each his own.”
I don’t believe in a higher power. I can’t really explain or justify why I don’t believe—I just don’t. The fact that the existence of God hasn’t been proven scientifically doesn’t bother me much. And except for a handful of loud extremists, most believers are very nice folks. I hate proselytism, I hate the fact religion was and still is so often linked to wars and that it can sometimes bring out the worst in people, but I have to acknowledge that it plays a big part in some people’s lives. Plus, let’s face it, religion is here to stay. We are mere humans, after all, tiny creatures in this big universe, weak beings who sometime need guidance, inspiration and comfort to carry on.
Yet, I don’t believe. The very idea of believing is foreign to me. I wasn’t brought up religious and all these rites are mysterious to me, intimidating even. Religion just isn’t part of my life.
It hadn’t been my day. First, we got lost going to my father’s workplace—how am I supposed to remember a tiny side street I went to ten years ago? Then my favourite bakery, the one that is really out of the way (and uphill to boot) had run out of their chaussons aux pommes. Mark was annoying, we ran out of hot water for the shower, I got a splinter in my feet and none of my pictures was good.
Yeah, one of these days.
At the end of the evening, I gave in and decided to “treat” Mark to a church visit. It was that or candies and yes, this kid is weird.
We stepped into Saint Nicolas, the closest church to my parents’ place, only a block away. It’s not as magnificent as the cathedral but it’s a friendly church, not one of these fundamentalist parishes where Mass is said in Latin and where families have a minimum of ten kids in tow.
It was the end of the weekday Mass. To my surprise, there were about twenty people sitting there in silence. I could still hear the last notes of the organ hanging in the air, between the church’s polished floor and the impossibly high ceiling. People were taking their time to leave, standing up slowly, lost in their thoughts. The atmosphere was peaceful and almost surreal. It could have been any place of worship, anywhere in the world.
Being there felt right. For a few minutes, I escaped as well. I escaped from the heat, the wind, the crowd, from time and from the city, from a somewhat frustrating day and from a busy evening.
For the first time, I kind of understood why people come to places of worship to gather their thoughts and take a moment to themselves without pressure.